Germany's New President Christian Wulff: Profile

Mr Wulff, 51, who once described himself as no "alpha male" has governed the state of Lower Saxony, home to automaker Volkswagen, since 2003. Mrs Merkel's choice for president, he won election by a special body in a vote seen as a test of her authority after a dire start to her second period in office marred by internal squabbling and a crisis in the eurozone. Allies of Mr Merkel feared Mr Wulff could use Lower Saxony, a high-profile perch, as a possible launch pad to pose a challenge to the weakened chancellor. But she has now effectively neutralised him, at least for the four-year length of his term, by placing him in a golden cage far removed from the real instruments of political power. However, Mr Wulff required three rounds of voting to secure the appointment as members of Merkel's ruling coalition rebelled against his candidacy and delivered her a damaging political setback.